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Eastern Counties were the beneficiary of 28 extra VRs in 1981, rather than just the ten from United Counties.
The final batch to arrive at Cambus should have been VR271-6 (TAH271-6W), but VR283-94 (VEX 283-304X) arrived as a diverted order due to Cambridge not wanting to embrace the new 'Olympian'.
These VRs were originally destined to be VVV 968W - VVV 977W with United Counties, so in return they got 10 ECW bodied Olympians originally intended for Cambridge.
As for VR968-77, they were delivered to UCOC 6/81 and went into store at Desborough, passing to ECOC that September as VR295-304. Only five out of the ten went into poppy red however, as VR297-9 received allover adverts for National Holidays.
The three National Holidays VRs initially went to Norwich (297), Cambridge (298) and Bury St Edmunds (299) though the latter migrated to Peterborough a few weeks later.
After the formation of NBC Cambus to take over the Cambridgeshire operations of ECOC, VR298 was painted into a cream and two-tone blue version of the NBC’s ‘Venetian Blind’ livery whilst the rest adopted a Baby Blue with cream relief stripe livery. When the NBC was dissolved Cambus was purchased by it’s management and adopted a new livery with Dark Blue bottom, cream (later white) relief around the bottom deck windows and light blue top deck. VR298 became No.751 in the new Cambus fleet and was painted accordingly, a livery which surprisingly she still carries today after leaving the company in 1999.
After sale, 751 passed via a dealer to Tim’s Travel of Sheerness, where she was later sold in 2000 to a dealer and then the Bristol VR Enthusiasts Society. This preservation attempt didn’t last and 751 passed to Chepstow Classic Buses in 2003, and then sold again in 2004 to Chelveston Preservation Society who, in 2009 swapped 751 with Plum Park Farm for a Bristol Lodekka. From 2009, 751 was used around the farm to act as a control and judging tower for Horse Trials and shows. In November 2020, we at Eastern Bus Enthusiasts contacted the farm and agreed a purchase.
We intend to restore 751 into its deregulation Cambus livery, identical to that which it still carries today.
Bristol VRT III
Stored - Undergoing Restoration
Bl VRT/SL3/6LXB VRT/SL3/2979
Nathan Merryweather, Michael Brent & Joeseph Johnson
NBC Eastern Counties